Health + Wellness

Viral Hepatitis being addressed at the national level in Asia Pacific

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The Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific (CEVHAP) released interim findings of its Asia Pacific Hepatitis Policy 2016 Survey

The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Early responses show momentum towards the elimination of viral hepatitis in the region with 10 of the 15 countries surveyed in the Asia Pacific having or in the process of adopting a national plan, and 12 countries reported to have an active working group to address the disease at a national level.

Key findings of the CEVHAP Asia Pacific Hepatitis Policy 2016 Survey include:

  • 12 countries have an active working group at a national level
  • 10 countries have or are in the process of developing or adopting a national plan
  • 10 countries recommend birth dose vaccination
  • 6 countries are reported to have made hepatitis B and hepatitis C treatment accessible in all parts of the country, although many people still need to pay out of pocket treatment expenses
  • 6 countries have performed economic evaluations regarding the impact and cost 
  • 7 governments reported on the number of people living with the chronic condition
  • 4 governments record the number of people dying as a result of viral hepatitis, liver disease and/or liver cancer each year
  • Nation-wide access to services from diagnosis to treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C continue to be face significant challenges, with only 3 countries ensuring those diagnosed are referred to appropriate information, counselling and care.

Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, and globally kills more than 1.4 million people every year. There are 5 different types of  viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.

  • Hepatitis A is spread mainly through ingestion of contaminated food and water and there are an estimated 1.4 million cases each year.
  • Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person and approximately 240 million people are
  • living with chronic infections.
  • Hepatitis C is mainly spread through blood-to-blood contact such as unsafe injection practices and inadequate sterilisation of medical equipment.
  • Hepatitis D is passed on through contact with infected blood and only occurs in people who are already infected with hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E, like hepatitis A, is transmitted through ingesting
  • contaminated food or water.

For World Hepatitis Day 2016 – taking place on 28 July – the World Hepatitis Alliance launched NOhep, a global movement aimed at uniting people from across the world to take action, to speak out and be engaged to ensure viral hepatitis is eliminated by 2030.

NOhep provides a platform for the  community to share resources and materials so that actions can be taken to eliminate viral hepatitis. Those interested in becoming an activist in support of NOhep can sign up at www.NOhep.org.

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